Glen Keane Talks Tangled
Tangled, indeed. Glen Keane has been on quite a long and difficult journey to make CG animation behave as warmly as hand-drawn. He started his directorial debut seven years ago with an ambitious adaptation of Rapunzel (first called Rapunzel Unbraided then Rapunzel and then Tangled). It was a struggle both artistically and technically, but when Pixar merged with Disney in 2006 and Keane was reunited with his old CalArts pal, John Lasseter, the project finally got greenlit and started showing promise, despite the ongoing challenges. That is until Keane suffered a heart attack two years ago and turned the reins over to Nathan Greno & Byron Howard (Bolt). But Keane stayed on as animation director, and now that Disney's 50th animated feature is finished and awaiting its Nov. 24 release, he spoke to AWN about his experiences.
Glen Keane: Yeah, these films aren't just made by big corporations; they're life and blood stories. And I don't I ever could have contributed what I did to this film without stepping back from the directing. For one thing, I don't think we would've done this film had I not started it. At a certain point, handing it over to Byron and Nathan was really, really wonderful. Both of those guys were so personal -- they just invested themselves in this film, these characters. When they would issue scenes to the animators, they would talk about their own moments in their lives and we'd be in tears; they'd be in tears.
BD: Like what?
GK: Their own experiences growing up and their own childhoods; painful moments; trying to connect with the animators so they drew on their own experiences to make it as real as possible. They really took the reins of the film with passion, and it allowed me to focus on the animation. And because I was working with John Kahrs and Clay Kaytis as this little triumvirate (John's background is in CG but loves hand-drawn; and Clay's background was in hand-drawn but loves CG). I don't know how to animate on CG, but I felt there was something really to pass on.
BD: You said your original goal was to break down the computer and make it more like hand-drawn. Did you accomplish it to your satisfaction?